MOBILE GAME IDEA OF THE WEEK: WIND RIDER

In this post, and its sequels, I share my game ideas with the hope that they inspire someone to make a beautiful mobile game.

Triple Town

Triple Town. A well-designed mobile game.

 

The increasing use of smartphones has greatly lowered the entry barrier for video game developers: games can be developed by two – or even one – man teams; development tools are easier to obtain and use. Almost anyone can develop a video game (mostly mobile games) these days.

I have a passion for video games and I’ve often dreamt of creating a game myself (I have made a couple of pen-and-paper RPGs, though). Now, I can realize that dream except…

I’m lazy! I develop game ideas but I’ve never developed a game. I believe there are people out there who need game ideas and are not lazy so I’ve decided to stop being selfish and share. Every week, starting this week, I’ll publish a new mobile game idea. Here’s the first:

TITLE: Wind Rider, Sky Surfer

SHORT DESCRIPTION:

Use a glider to ferry messages between locations. Ride mild drafts of air; evade powerful guests. Race against time.

GENRE:

Adventure, Racing

SCENARIO:

The game is set in a fantasy version of ancient South America, specifically in the Andies.

GAME SYSTEM:

Rules:

Beat the time for each level to move to the next level.

Game objects:

  1. Different bodies of air with varying intensities; from mild drafts to tornadoes!
  2. Projectiles fired from the ground (in some levels).
  3. Other riders (in race levels). 

GAME MECHANICS:

  1. Touch left and right controls to turn left or right respectively. There are no controls for forward or backward movement.
  2. Ride a draft to move in the direction its flowing e.g ride forward-flowing drafts to move forward.
  3. Ride up-drafts to gain altitude. The glider loses altitude, steadily, as it moves.
  4. Tap a location to visit it. 

I apologize for the lack of diagrams: I am a graphic design noob. I’m working on the diagrams, though, but don’t expect anything visually-appealing, soon.

If you think this game is cool or less, do let me know; don’t spare any comments – I promise to read them all!

Sources of inspiration:

Lost garden link

Pocketgamer

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Cellz: A greenthumbs foray into mobile game development – Lessons

Bug’s bite.

But you knew that already. So I’ll rephrase the opening statement:

Program bugs bite.

I’ve been itching and scratching bug bites for weeks now. I’m quite close to completing my game and I’ve noticed I’m greener than spring-time vegetation. I apologize for not providing updates on my progress; I promise to post the game and links to the complete source when I’ve completed it. It’s been an exciting, and sometimes depressing, journey so far and I’ve learnt a couple of lessons I would love to share with you:

  1. START SMALL; GROW SLOWLY.

You dream of making a better RPG than Final Fantasy. That’s cool. But when you do start developing that RPG, like I tried, ‘it’ hits you:

“There’s so much to do!”

Yes, so very much! Even with tools like RPGMaker VX, and a dedicated development team, you could still take months making a skeletal game. This also applies to other game genres.

The dream of being a game developer is suddenly eclipsed by reality.

You could develop a tiny, Pong clone instead. Later, when your developer biceps have swollen, you could develop a Pacman clone. Then a Tetris clone. A slow progression, yes. But a progression nonetheless. You’ll find you are actually making games, not just dreams of games, and learning a lot about game development at the same time. You’ll find yourself closer to that RPG with each game you complete.

But don’t rush your growth. Please.

  1. INK IS THE BEST DOODLE-JUICE!

Doodling has gone digital!

Galaxy Note. Evernote. OneNote. Notepad. You can grab your tablet and a stylus, take a couple of notes, make some sketches, mind-map, and save them to the cloud. Easy as pie! But its much easier to pull out a writing pad and a pen and start scribling , or sketching. Plus, you feel much closer to your work.

Disclaimer: I’m no expert at note-taking; I’m only sharing my experience.

  1. BROADCAST YOUR PASSION!Tell your friends, family, classmates that you make games; convince them that its not some random hobby. It’ll do wonders for your productivity. Seriously.

How does ‘broadcasting’ help you? I’ll explain using two scenarios:

Scenario 1

A classmate who knew I was working on a game, found me playing a flash game on my laptop and asked : “Did you make this?” I replied in the negative of course but I smiled inside: he believed I could create that flash game. So I resolved to get better at game development so next time my reply would be: “Yes, I did.”

Scenario 2

You’ve been working hard on a ‘physics’ game and you’re pretty impressed with yourself. A friend looks at it and says: “Is this Pacman?” You become sad because you thought you had created something better than Pacman. You decide to fix the game. Some days (or weeks) later, the same friend takes a look and says: “Angry Birds is way better than this silly game.” Success!

You should always remember that people are not predisposed to giving praise. So read between the lines.

  1. “A LITTLE LESS CONVERSATION…”“…a little more action.” You do remember the line, right? Elvis Presley?

Lesson 3 said “BROADCAST”. Lesson 4 says “BACK IT UP”.

Put the hours in: develop a game. It’s easy to tell people about your revolutionary game ideas but if there’s no ‘deliverable’, you lose your credibilty. Speak less about what you will do and more about what you have done.

  1. DO YOUR RESEARCH.Whether people want to believe it or not, game development is serious business. Treat it as such. Research, like you would any other endeavour:

    Play the games you want to make.

    Read articles written by other indie developers. Visit indie game developer sites.

    Ask questions on Game Development or similar sites.

Study like you’re in college.

The video game ecosystem changes a lot. Make sure you’re well-informed.

I appreciate your reading this article to the end. I feel like I’ve shared my experiences with a circle of friends. Thanks. This article is definitely not the last on this subject – I’m still learning and I hope to share my lessons with you very soon.

Do you have any similar experiences? I’m all ears. Thanks, for sharing.

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A few tips for your next RPG project…

Once upon a time, video game development was a fantasy entertained by few people because it was a power held only by computer programming wizards , practised by teams of those wizards, and difficult to learn.

A computer programming wizard

Now, game programming is no longer exclusive. There are many platforms to develop on (pc, mobile), numerous game engines for different programming language platforms e.g AndEngine for Android. There are also lots of books on game programming, and even ‘game maker’ software like Construct-2 for HTML5 games. It is clear that the entry barrier for game development has been destroyed.

a ruined portal

A ruined portal

There are now so many video games and video game developers that the only way to distinguish them is the quality of their work – and the size of the development team.

RPGs

A very popular genre of video games is RPGs – or role-playing games.

An online RPG

RPGs are not as easy to develop as the other game genres but there are still lots of RPGs on all gaming platforms. So how do you make your RPG stand out? Below is a list of features that, hopefully, may make your next RPG project quite interesting and unique:

Not-so-common RPG features

  1. Forging / Alchemy / Cooking

While this feature is not rare, it is also not common. Forging allows a gamer to craft his/her own weapons, armor, and accessories. This adds a mode of customization (in addition to character traits) that could spawn new items to be collected and character classes. The developer could limit forging and alchemy to certain classes such as the Alchemist class or Blacksmith class. The developer could also create hidden recipes that produce powerful items and make them quest rewards.

I’ll post more tips next week. Thanks for reading.

Pocket Tactics: Chat with OneManLeft

Heard of Outwitters? You shouldn’t have – not yet. It’s a real-time strategy game for iOS (Apple’s mobile OS) that received good reviews at GDC. It wasn’t the only game but I have a nasty bias towards strategy games. Outwitters was created by OneManLeft (funny name) and they’ve just released the beta version of their game. Here’s their chat with Pocket Tactics:

http://pockettactics.com/2012/05/09/tactical-chat-onemanleft-talks-about-outwitters/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=tactical-chat-onemanleft-talks-about-outwitters

Game development made easy

I love games, especially video games. I love them so much I’ve wanted to design the games I’d want to play. So I scourred the web and found something really nice…

Scirra’s home page

Construct-2 is a HTML5 game maker owned by Scirra. The games you develop with construct can be published on a number of media including Chrome’s Webstore and Facebook. There are three versions: a free-to-download version and two commercial versions. I’ve only started using it but I’ll post my discoveries whenever I make them.